Churches Conservation Trustís new Edible Churchyard Scheme Launches
Workshop for National Apple Day
- New initiative to create a local food hub as visitors learn processes such as fruit grafting, apple tree care and cider making
- Shropshire church the first to trial a national scheme helping communities to care for these important natural habitats
- Aim to encourage local residents to take ownership and pride in these important communal spaces.
- National Apple Day event – 29 October.
The Churches Conservation Trust – the national charity protecting historic churches at risk – is piloting Edible Churchscapes, a new scheme to help communities understand and better manage the bio-diversity of churchyards, while at the same time creating a local food hub as they learn processes such as fruit grafting, apple tree care and cider making.
The scheme will launch a special training day on 29 October (National Apple Day) at the historic church of St Martin’s at Preston Gubbals, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, which is the first location to trial the initiative. Activities will include cider making and a fungi and moth survey (see below). Cared for by the CCT, the church and churchyard dates back to the Medieval period. The churchyard is already home to wide variety of plants and animals, illustrating the value these historic patches of land can provide to local communities.
The CCT cares for historic churches that are no longer used for regular worship but which remain consecrated. Its new edible churchyard scheme provides a framework for just one example of how communities can best manage the churchyards of the 340 churches under its care, while at the same time teaching local populations the principals of biodiversity management and sustainable food production which can be practiced anywhere.
Robert Milton, Development Officer of The Churches Conservation Trust, said: “The Churches Conservation Trust’s Edible Churchyard Scheme will help people both appreciate the biodiversity value of redundant churchyards and explore their potential for local food production and as community focal points, creating a lasting legacy for wildlife and people in a way which remains sensitive to the sacred nature of these spaces. Ultimately we want local communities to take ownership and pride in these important communal spaces.’
Gareth Parry, Community Biodiversity Officer for Shropshire County Council said: 'Churchyards are often remnants of ancient meadows, but flora & fauna present in CCT churchyards is frequently unknown and unmapped. St Martin’s at Preston Gubbals has been churchyard since medieval times and there are records of local and national priority species in the surrounding landscape. We are looking forward to working with local people to help them find out more and manage this overlooked resource in a genuinely beneficial way.'
The Churches Conservation Trust’s Edible Churchyards scheme is currently a one-year pilot running at St Martin’s Church, Preston Gubbals, Shropshire. Financed by a grant award from the Big Lottery Awards for All scheme, the pilot is a partnership between Shropshire Council’s Natural Environment team and The Churches Conservation Trust. The findings from the scheme will be shared across the Charity and its partners to best empower and support local communities across the UK.
Edible Churchscape workshops focus on the following:
Events at St Martin’s, Preston Gubbals, on 29 October include:
- Habitat survey and species recording exercise
- Learning a range of techniques to increase wildlife potential - dependent on the site survey outcomes - such as encouraging wildflower meadows, species specific habitat creation, hedge laying & grafting hedges with local heritage food producing trees (apples, quince, bullace etc).
- Bringing ancient skills, fitting these historical sites, to a new 21st century audience.
- The project will engage with local schools, stimulate community seasonal events and produce a local resource for everyone to enjoy - and eat!
Discover the art of cider making with Tom the Appleman, with instruction on what goes into making a local brew from the humble apple to having a go with a traditional press. During the event Tom will explain how the site could be most productive as an edible churchscape and how to get involved in mapping what could go where – and will be on hand to answer apple-related questions, such as whether it’s possible to graft apples to hawthorn and how to tell one variety of apple from another.
Bio-diversity in the churchyard: Dr Gareth Parry, Shropshire County Council's Biodiversity Officer will be looking at some of the species that survive and thrive here and asking what the presence of certain moths and funghi can tell us about our environment.
For more information find the Edible Churchscapes page on Facebook:
- ENDS -
For information and images contact:
William Kallaway, Kallaway Ltd:
William.email@example.com; 020 7221 7883
Robert Milton, Development Officer, Churches Conservation Trust: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01743 357 006, 079123 88985.
About the Churches Conservation Trust (http://www.visitchurches.org.uk)
The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) is the national charity protecting historic churches at risk. The Trust is responsible for over 340 beautiful buildings which attract more than 2 million visitors a year.
- Established under Ecclesiastical Law on 1 April 1969 the charity receives its churches in the form of ‘vestings’ from the Church Commissioners. All the CCT’s churches remain consecrated and can be used for occasional worship.
- The CCT works with local people to bring historic churches back into the heart of the community and use as a social, tourism, educational or cultural resource. The CCT’s care of Grade I and II* buildings has given it an international reputation in heritage conservation and regeneration.
- The CCT currently receives £2.9m from the DCMS which was reduced from £3.1m in 2010 and will reduce by a further 20% by 2015 under the Comprehensive Spending Review, £1.3m of conditional match-funding from the Church Commissioners and raise a further £1.3m from philanthropic donations and self-generated income. The Trust needs a further £1.5m each year to fill a funding shortfall.
- Chairman of the Trust is Loyd Grossman OBE FSA, who was appointed in 2007. Crispin Truman is Chief Executive.
About the Edible Churchscapes Project
Edible Churchscapes aims to bring communities together to learn techniques that will enable them to discover and conserve their local biodiversity and undertake local food production that benefits them and their wildlife. This will unlock huge potential in ancient churchscapes to be community spaces and biodiversity refuges, creating a lasting legacy for wildlife and people. The project is a one year pilot running at St Martin’s Church, Preston Gubbals, Shropshire. The project is a partnership between a skilled local edible landscaper, Shropshire Council’s Natural Environment team and The Churches Conservation Trust. The one-year programme has been funded by a grant award from the Big Lottery Awards for All scheme.
- END TO ALL -